As one of the largest technology companies hailing from China, Tencent has masterfully woven itself into the digital lives of billions of users, shaping how they interact, learn, and entertain themselves. With a diverse portfolio that encompasses social media, gaming, entertainment, and much more, the company has become an indisputable titan in its quest to transform the digital sphere.
In this article, we’ll uncover the origins of this enigmatic powerhouse, delve into its array of groundbreaking products and services, and reveal the secrets behind its meteoric rise to success. Fasten your seatbelts as we embark on a thrilling journey to unravel the captivating story of Tencent and its remarkable impact on the world of technology and beyond.
What Is Tencent Video?
Tencent Streaming Company, or Tencent Video, is a Chinese video streaming platform based in Shenzhen, China. It was launched in 2011 and has since become one of China’s most popular streaming services, with over 120 million paid subscribers as of 2022.
The company is a major player in the online video streaming industry. The platform features movies, TV series, documentaries, animations, short video clips and sports events. Significantly, Tencent Video is unique in allowing users to interact with each other, share recommendations and participate in discussions.
Tencent Video’s parent platform is Tencent, owned by Tencent Holdings. The company is a technology and entertainment conglomerate best known for its social media platform, WeChat. The platform, often known as the Asian equivalent of WhatsApp, has over a billion monthly active users in China.
What Does Tencent Video Do?
Tencent Video offers a wide range of content, including TV dramas, movies, animations, short videos and documentaries. It has partnerships with major studios such as Warner Bros., Disney, and HBO, as well as with Chinese production companies.
In addition to licensed content, Tencent Video produces original series and movies. Some of its most popular original shows include “The Untamed,” “The Story of Yanxi Palace”, and “The Romance of Tiger and Rose”.
Tencent: A History of the Company
Tencent Video was launched in April 2011, originally as an online video platform focusing on user-generated content. The early incarnation of the platform drew similarities to the California-based YouTube, which launched six years previously.
The company was fast-growing from its inception, amassing an average of 200 million daily broadcasts by the summer of 2012.
In 2014, Tencent Video focused more on strategic partnerships and licensed content. With the intention of growth, they began to form partnerships with domestic and international production companies. This allowed the website to offer its growing user base a much wider range of movies, TV series and other video content.
Tencent Video then started to recognise the demand for original programming. Two years later, in 2016, they heavily invested in producing their own documentaries, animations and TV dramas. This allowed the company to draw new subscribers based on the quality of its original shows and increase the amount of content to its current subscribers.
In 2017, one year later, Tencent Video became fully integrated with the rest of the business, sitting alongside WeChat and QQ. Users were able to seamlessly move across platforms and further develop user engagement. The following year, the company added greater streaming quality plus interactive features such as personalised recommendations.
Soon after, Tencent began a strategy to expand its global reach. This brought about a collaboration with huge Hollywood studios, as well as securing distribution rights for popular movies and TV shows.
Notably, in 2022, China announced the launch of its official Disney film and TV hub on Tencent Video, a huge landmark for the country’s entertainment industry.
Tencent Video has since become China’s second-largest video platform. Furthermore, they are the world’s fourth-largest video platform after Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+.
Who owns Tencent?
The founders of Tencent are Zhang Zhidong, Xu Chenye, Charles Chen and Zeng Liqing, while Ma Huateng (Pony Ma) is the CEO and chairman. The classmates co-founded Tencent in 1998, turning it into one of the world’s largest companies and making themselves billionaires.
Whilst Tencent Video is an online video streaming service, the platform is multifaceted in comparison to other video platforms, offering services similar to both Netflix and YouTube.
Tencent Video allows users to stream a variety of video content, including movies, TV series, documentaries, animations, and sports events, as well as view short videos. The content is provided on demand instead of sticking to a televised schedule, meaning users can watch any of its programmes whenever they wish.
A variety of subscription options are available to users. Premium plan subscribers benefit from features such as early access to episodes, ad-free viewing, higher video quality and subscriber-exclusive content.
Tencent Video has licences with domestic and international production companies to host a vast library of video content. This includes popular movies, TV shows, and other forms of entertainment, such as documentaries and sports events. Subscriber users can watch these licensed videos through the platform.
The company produces and streams original programming from its studios, including exclusive TV dramas and documentaries. These original productions are created specifically for the Tencent Video platform, offering unique and exclusive content to its users. Original content accounts for around 65% of the platform’s videos.
Short Video Clips
Tencent Video features user-generated short video clips. These clips cover a range of subjects, including comedy, music, cooking, fashion and more. Users can upload their own videos and interact with others. Additionally, the service allows users to view ads and share video clips with the platform’s WeChat service. Tencent Video’s short video clips have gained tremendous popularity over the years, creating viral trends and internet celebrities in China.
Unlike many rivals, Tencent Video incorporates social features to enhance user engagement and interaction. Users can comment on videos, participate in discussions and share their favourite content with friends and followers. The social interactions throughout the platform add an extra dimension to the wealth of content.
As a huge entertainment and technology conglomerate, Tencent allows users to access its multitude of features through its own platforms. The service is available on multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and computers. One of the unique features of Tencent Video is its integration with other Tencent services, such as WeChat, QQ and Tencent Meeting. Users can easily share and recommend content through these platforms with friends and family.
Usefully, users can add their friends on the Tencent social media platforms, email other users or engage in video hangouts on the Tencent Meeting tool. Users can conveniently enjoy their favourite videos and features across different devices without ever leaving the Tencent universe.
What Products Does Tencent Offer?
Tencent offers a wide range of products and services across its platform. Some of the key products and services provided include:
Social Media and Messaging Networks
WeChat: A multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app with features such as instant messaging and voice/video calls.
QQ: An instant messaging software that provides text and voice communication, online gaming, music, shopping and other features.
Online Video and Entertainment
Tencent streaming platforms are a massive pull for its subscribers and feature many popular platforms.
Tencent Video: An online streaming platform showing licensed movies, TV series, animations, documentaries, short videos and original content.
Gaming and Esports
Tencent games are some of the most popular in the world and include the following:
Honor of Kings (Arena of Valor): A popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game for mobile devices.
PUBG Mobile: A mobile version of the popular battle royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
League of Legends: League of Legends, often called ‘League’, is a highly popular MOBA game developed by Riot Games. Tencent acquired Riot Games in 2011.
Tencent Games: A division of Tencent that develops and publishes a wide range of games for various platforms. As an innovative developer, Tencent Games is well-respected in the global gaming community.
E-commerce and Online Services
Tencent Video has integrated e-commerce features into its platform, allowing users to shop online while watching videos.
JD.com: Tencent has a strategic partnership with JD.com, one of the largest e-commerce companies in China.
Pinduoduo: Tencent has invested in Pinduoduo, a group-buying e-commerce platform.
Tencent Cloud: A cloud computing platform providing infrastructure and various cloud-based services.
Digital Payments and Fintech
Tencent Video now offers the option for users to make payments and receive financial services through its platform.
WeChat Pay: A mobile payment service integrated into WeChat, enabling users to make payments, transfer money, and perform various financial transactions.
QQ Wallet: A digital wallet service integrated into QQ, offering similar functionalities to WeChat Pay.
Tencent FiT: A fintech platform that provides financial technology solutions, including wealth management, insurance services, and online lending.
What Are Tencent Video’s Most Popular Products?
The Tencent Video app is one of the most popular products offered by Tencent. Here are some of the most popular TV shows, movies and animations on the platform:
TV Shows: Popular shows on the platform include “The Untamed”, ”Who Rules The World”, “Heroes”, “Hello, My Shining Love”, “Binary Love”, “Love Destiny”, “Love Start From Marriage”, “The Truth”, “Story of Yanxi Palace”, “The Longest Day in Chang’an”, “The Legend of White Snake”, and “Three-Body”.
“Three-Body” is a particularly popular series available on Tencent. “Dark Forest”, the second installment in the series, is currently under development for a spin-off series.
Movies: Popular movies on Tencent Video include “Avengers: Endgame”, “Wolf Warrior 2”, “The Wandering Earth”, and “Your Name”.
Animation and Anime: Popular animations and anime series on Tencent Video include “The King’s Avatar”, “Attack on Titan”, “One Piece”, and “Demon Slayer”.
Who is Tencent’s Target Audience?
Tencent’s intended target audiences are fans of long-form content. In a similar way to Netflix, subscribers can ‘binge-watch’ TV series, dramas and movies.
Increasingly, Chinese and international companies have been drawn to Tencent and its large user base. With Tencent’s growing popularity in China, it is no surprise that companies have decided to use it as an advertising platform.
Where Is Tencent Available?
Tencent Video is accessible through its website (v.qq.com) and mobile apps, which are available for iOS, Android and Google Play devices. The platform has a large user base in China. It has since successfully expanded its reach internationally, launching an international version of its platform (WeTV), available in over 100 countries and regions.
The international version offers a selection of Chinese and Korean dramas with English subtitles.
How Much Does Tencent Video Cost?
The Tencent platform provides both free and subscription-based content. Free content is available, supported by advertisements, while premium content and exclusive features require a subscription. Tencent Video offers various subscription options to suit users, including monthly and annual plans.
The monthly membership costs around $5, with the annual subscription costing approximately $60.
How Can You Buy Tencent?
Tencent Video is accessible through its website and mobile apps, which are available for iOS, Android and Google Play devices.
Simply log on to the website or download the app, then create an account or use your WeChat login. Once logged in, you can decide whether to purchase a subscription or use just the free version of the site, which is limited. You can then enjoy the vast array of shows!
If you are a business looking for a Tencent ad account, sign up for an account with a China-based phone number, a QQ number or your WeChat account.
Tencent Video Criticism
Recently, Tencent Video has faced some challenges, including increased competition from streaming services such as iQiyi and Youku. It has also faced criticism for its strict content censorship policies, which have led to the removal of some shows and movies.
Tencent Video has also come under criticism for recent subscription price hikes. Subscribers saw a 20% increase in April 2021, with another 25% increase in April 2022.
Despite these challenges, Tencent Video remains a dominant player in the Chinese streaming market and continues to expand its reach both domestically and internationally.
Like other online platforms operating in China, Tencent Video operates within the framework of Chinese regulations and censorship policies. The Chinese government maintains strict control over media and internet content, including video platforms, to ensure adherence to its censorship guidelines and to protect what it considers to be the country’s social stability and values.
As such, the platform may review and block content they deem to violate regulations, including videos that contain explicit political content, pornography, violence, or other content that goes against Chinese censorship guidelines.
However, they are not alone in these censorship allegations. Other Chinese online video platforms and internet companies also follow similar guidelines to operate within the boundaries set by the government.
Tencent and World of Warcraft
China hit the news in early 2023 when Activision Blizzard, the company behind World of Warcraft (WoW), suspended its services in China due to a licencing disagreement.
This has led to gamers speculating that Chinese games platforms will capitalise on this and produce their own unofficial WoW spin-offs. Significantly, Tencent already has plans to roll out a new game called “Tarisland”, which mirrors the popular game’s visuals and characters. As a result, some are already referring to “Tarisland” as a ‘Tencent WoW clone.’
Are There Plans for a Tencent Metaverse?
Due to Tencent’s ability to adapt to growing trends, there have long been calls for the platform to enter the metaverse and produce its own virtual reality system.
However, despite the company’s plans to develop virtual reality software and hardware, for which it hired 300 people, a recent economic downturn has led to a change of heart.
Ultimately, Tencent placed the project on hold, deciding that the idea would be too expensive to develop and take too long to achieve a profit. It remains to be seen whether they will return to the project in the future.
Is Tencent Stock a Good Buy on the Stock Market?
Parent company Tencent Holdings Limited is publicly traded and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
As one of China’s most popular and profitable companies, their has always been popular. Since being listed on the open stock market in 2004, the company’s revenue and net profit have grown by an annual rate of 44%, meaning it is a good investment for businesses.
The company has a medium risk rating.
Is Tencent Video Any Good?
Tencent Video has a rating of 3.5 out of 5 on Apple’s App Store, whilst the platform has a similar score on Google Play. Reviewers praised the quality and availability of popular shows but criticised the app for instances of crashing and other technical issues.
Users on the JustUseApp rate Tencent Video as 3.4 out of 5, citing technical issues as the leading cause for concern.
The streaming platform remains incredibly popular in China and is constantly expanding its services. However, while the international spin-off WeTV is also popular, enthusiasts wish the platform’s library were available worldwide. At the moment, global users are only able to access the full content by using a VPN.
To some, Tencent may be just another Chinese tech company. But when it comes to the history of innovation and business success, this company is anything but ordinary. In fact, it’s one of China’s most valuable companies, having recently passed a mammoth $500 billion valuation. Furthermore, the meteoric rise of Tencent is a testament to the power of innovation and, more importantly, its ability to influence the digital world in ways that have, thus far, never been seen before.
As one of the most widely-used platforms in the world, Tencent is at the centre of everything digital for people all over the globe. Moreover, it’s a multifaceted ecosystem that encompasses everything from payments and e-commerce to gaming and entertainment. In short, it’s the one-stop shop for connecting with friends, family, and the world around you.